A traveling group consisting of more than three dozen Huntington High School students and teachers spent their mid-winter vacation exploring Italy from Rome to Sicily. It was a trip that all of them will remember forever.
Camille Tedeschi is flanked by Marissa Stafford and Mia Redick in Italy.
The excursion was a completely private journey booked through EF Tours and not approved or subsidized by the Huntington School District in any way. The recent trip was led by high school social studies teacher Camille Tedeschi, a seasoned world traveler.
“The trip was such an amazing experience,” junior Marissa Stafford said. “We learned so much about the Italian culture and went on so many crazy adventures. The memories I made and friendships that grew from this trip will be something I will cherish forever.”
Ms. Tedeschi loves to travel. She has visited every continent except Antarctica. The energetic teacher has been leading international trips for EF Tours for many years. Hundreds of Huntington students have participated in the privately funded treks. The veteran educator also enjoys heading off on her own when she’s not scheduled for group travel.
“It was the 20th student tour that I have led with EF Tours and probably one of my favorites,” Ms. Tedeschi said. “Italy has a lot to offer travelers and this tour did not disappoint. Each day was full of excitement.”
The trip was jammed with activities. “We visited Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, Savoca, Palermo and Taormina,” Ms. Tedeschi said. “It is often said it is not about the destination, but about who you travel with and this tour was a great example of that line. This group of students were amazing. They were always respectful, punctual, eager to learn and experience new food and customs and also funny. They had great personalities that made all of us have a great time together.”
It was a fascinating journey for the young travelers. “It was a great experience,” junior Chas Forte said. “Definitely made a lot of new friends. It’s great to experience other cultures. It’s always been on my bucket list so I’m glad I got to go. Capri was definitely my favorite place I visited.”
Ms. Tedeschi is a firm believer in the notion that going out into the field to learn enhances the education of folks of any age. “Not all classrooms have four walls and in a nine day tour these students learned more than could ever be imagined relating to art, history, culture, language and themselves,” she said.
While those who participated in the journey are back to their normal routines, no one is about to forget their extraordinary time in Europe. “Italy was really amazing,” junior Lily Stein said. “My favorite part was the boat ride around the rocks in Capri. It was really beautiful. It was such a great group of kids and the chaperones and tour guides made the entire trip an experience I will never forget.”
The traveling party took delight in all the sights and sounds they came across. “Having the opportunity to travel to a country so enriched in history was amazing,” senior Katie Riley said. “One of my favorite stops was the hilltop town of Taormina in Sicily. It had breathtaking ocean views, an ancient Greco-Roman theater and access to nearby Mount Etna, an active volcano. I also appreciated touring sites we already learned about in many of our history classes. Seeing the Parthenon, Colosseum, Roman Forum, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican and Sistine Chapel, brought history to life! I would like to thank Ms. Tedeschi and all of our chaperones for generously spending their winter break traveling with us.”
Seven adult chaperones assisted Ms. Tedeschi and the students on the trip. “It was a life changing experience,” junior Mia Redick said. “I learned new things, met knew people and explored a different part of the world. Overall, everything was amazing. We couldn’t thank the chaperones enough.”
Ms. Tedeschi has been a Huntington social studies teacher since September 2002. A graduate of Walt Whitman High School, she obtained an undergraduate degree at Pace University and graduate degrees at Stony Brook University and CUNY-Queens College. She is also certified as a school librarian.
“The trip to Italy was terrific for many reasons,” junior Cole Pillion said. “First, learning about an area of Italy close to my mother’s family heritage was wonderful. Visiting Italy, particularly Sicily, gave me a better understanding of the culture and day to day activities of the Italian people. And, I might add, a better understanding of our family dinners. Also, traveling with a great group of Huntington students and chaperones created a unique opportunity to learn and to interact with each other that does not regularly happen in school. Relating to the day to day travel of the trip, we were busy traveling, sightseeing, eating and sleeping 100 percent of the time. If you asked me for favorite cities, keeping in mind that every location was a great learning experience, Sorrento, the Leaning Tower of Pisa or in Italian, Torre pendente di Pisa, experiencing everything that Rome has to offer and, of course, Sicily; my mother’s grandparent’s hometown, was fantastic.”
Ms. Tedeschi has served as a student government class advisor and History Day club advisor and is currently the Interact Club’s faculty advisor. She has been recognized by EF Tours and Me to We for excellence in teaching and for showing her students the world. She was the honored educator at WE Day in Manhattan in April 2016 and holds the title of Global Education Ambassador for Long Island. She loves to travel and has been a guest speaker at several conventions and training tours abroad for teachers.